Anatomy of A World of Gothic: House at the Edge (Greece) by MM Jaye

Introduction

My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a different location around the world, all taking place in a remote, awe-inspiring mansion. As a number of amazing titles have been available since the series launched last April, I felt I should bring them to your attention again, from a different angle this time. So, each week, I’ll invite one of the series’ authors here, spotlight her book and focus on the heroine, the hero, and the backbone of any good Gothic story, the house/castle/mansion that tends to hold the key to solving the mysteries piling up.

This week, it’s my turn. I published House at the Edge last May, and although the setting is again Alonissos, my favorite Greek island, the ambiance is a complete one-eighty from my usual summery scenery. Read on for a complete breakdown of House at the Edge.

HouseOnEdge_CVR

House at the Edge

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, mystery romance
Purchase links: Amazon US / Amazon UK / iTunes / Kobo / B&N 

Description

He wants her out of his house. The house agrees…

After losing everything—her family, her home, her sense of self—former heiress, Daphne Alesi, has no choice but to start anew. Broke, unwanted, and suffering from a rare condition that makes defining her emotions mind-numbingly difficult, the only thing she has left is a strong will to survive.

Starting over on a remote Greek island, in the dead of winter, just because it was her grandmother’s birthplace might be a foolish plan, but staying in England is not an option.

The people of Alonissos are far from welcoming, not least the brooding recluse whose home she literally invades. The infamous House at the Edge is rumored to host a ghost—the soul of the enigmatic owner’s deceased wife. But it will take more than an angry spirit to send Daphne fleeing.

Being emotionally detached has some benefits, after all.

15380623_1297202806999030_5091398639803318462_n

I’ve done a Q&A with the other authors in the series, but it would be weird to answer my own questions, so I’ll just segmentize the anatomy.

What writing a Gothic means to me.

This was a challenge. But although I live a consciously drama-free life, since it threw my way enough challenges to make me not seek out more, writing-wise I’m a thrill-seeker. When Alicia Dean called for submissions for the A World of Gothic series, I jumped in without even thinking it through. I had no clue about the story I’d write. And the mystery suspenses I’d read were books published in the mid-twentieth century, not exactly fresh stuff. All I knew was that my heroine had to be stranded in a remote place, the setting should be the exact opposite of warm and fuzzy, and the hero had to be mysterious and aloof, casting a shadow of danger. Oh, and a ghost should be lurking somewhere. Cakewalk. Not. But a delicious challenge it was.

My female lead: Daphne Alesi

I love writing complex characters, and I don’t limit this only to my male heroes. I needed a plausible reason for Daphne to go to a remote Greek island in the dead of winter and stay there despite everyone’s negativity. Also, the biggest driver for me to write romance is the healing power of love to damaged characters, and their denial both that they are damaged and that they need healing. So Daphne had to be immune to everyone’s logic. The islanders efforts to chase her off shouldn’t scare her. But that would only be true if she wouldn’t emote. As in suffering from an emotional disorder. Once I reached that conclusion, it was easy to research and decide she’d suffer from alexithymia–inability to decipher emotions and react accordingly. On the other hand, since she’d lost everything back in England and was desperate to find her roots in the island her great-grandmother gave birth to her grandmother, deciding to move to that island and then stick mulishly to her decision despite looming dangers made more sense.

My male lead: Manos Varnezis

Owner of a remote mansion? Check. Ruggedly handsome and aloof? Check. A reclusive widower with a traumatic past? Check. Okay, good stuff for the Gothic vibe this story needed, but he sounded kind of cliche. I dislike standard romantic heroes whose wealth is a static thing, and they do nothing but sulk. Manos had to do something constructive with his life. So I made him a certified speech therapist, working with kids with learning or speech difficulties online. The power of the internet gave that recluse the ability to do something useful with his life and made him a more developed character for my book.

The chemistry between the two? It was a slow build, but a fire that erupted out of nowhere (hello, ghost!) made it burn hotter than the flames. Daphne imposed herself in Manos’ residence as the cook he didn’t know he needed, and she gradually reminded him that he actually needed human interaction as well. Love bloomed, but the house wasn’t down with that. Then things turned ugly.

Wearing the casting director hat

once-upon-a-time-3416394655111_79005f1f75_b

Oh, Jamie. Disclaimer: I’m not a 50 Shades fan. At all. But Jamie would make the perfect Manos. The scruff, the piercing gaze, the baritone voice. It’s all there. In spades. And Zooey Deschanel would be the ideal Daphne. Quirky yet strong and determined with a skewed self-image, thanks to her ex-model, gorgeous mom who she hasn’t taken after, Daphne finds herself with nothing but fights to earn her right to happiness. They’d make a beautiful couple. I actually had Zooey in mind when looking for stock photo models for the book cover, and I think I nailed it 🙂

 

The antagonist: the House at the Edge (from the book)

The rain was falling in sheets, forcing me to squint, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the house. The ground floor was dressed in dark natural stone, while the upper level’s façade bore the signs of neglect with streaks of brown, angry scars on a once pristine white surface. Shafts of gray granite lined the domed windows, and if the metal arched mullions weren’t a Gothic nod, the thick turrets pointing to the pewter sky made me think I had entered a portal to a different world—one miles away from a Greek island.

A dazzling white streak of lightning slashed between the beckoning lightning rods perched on the tips of the turrets, pulling me from my trance. I let the bike drop onto the brown slush and ran up the wide marble steps. Somewhat protected under the portico, I stood and stared at the dragon-shaped metal door knocker.

The thought that I was in over my head evaporated with the rumbling thunder, crashing behind me. No, there was no going back.

The greater setting: the island of Alonissos

The stereotypic image of a Greek island makes an unlikely setting for a Gothic mystery romance. But the Greek isles, removed from the throngs of tourists and frequent ship routes, can be quite inhospitable in the winter. Alonissos is no exception. It’s small with a population of just over two thousand, fighting recession like every other part of Greece. So an ignorant English-speaking girl who suddenly lands there, demanding to find employment when the island can’t feed its own would certainly not be welcome. And if she catches the attention of the island’s most eligible bachelor, hostility can turn to danger.

That’s it from me, today. Tune in next week for another awesome Q&A!

For more on the A World of Gothic series, visit our Facebook page

 

Advertisements

Anatomy of A World of Gothic: Ghost in the Rain (Scotland) by Marie Treanor

anatomy-of-a-world-of-gothic

Introduction

My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a different location around the world, all taking place in a remote, awe-inspiring mansion. As a number of amazing titles have been available since the series launched last April, I felt I should bring them to your attention again, from a different angle this time. So, each week, I’ll invite one of the series’ authors here, spotlight her book and focus on the heroine, the hero, and the backbone of any good Gothic story, the house/castle/mansion that tends to hold the key to solving the mysteries piling up.

This week, I’m pleased to present Marie Treanor and the first book in the series, which takes us right to the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Read on for an inspiring anatomy of the Ghost in the Rain by the author herself.

Ghost in the Rain

by Marie Treanor
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, romantic suspense
Publication date: April 24, 2016
Purchase links:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iBooks

GhostInRain_CVR_SML

Description

A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…

Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.

Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.

It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…

14670870_1248266691892642_7666106686374479602_n

Q & A with Marie Treanor

Hello, Marie, and welcome back to my blog!

Thanks, Maria! Lovely to be back.

What does writing a Gothic story mean to you? What are the core elements such a story should incorporate?

I’ve always loved Gothic tales, from atmospheric romances to downright scary stories, so I suppose it was inevitable I would come to write them! For me, they are a combination of spooky, threatening setting, and a dark, dangerous hero, preferably with a tragic and/or wicked past. There has to be a genuine danger to the heroine, and a paranormal element always helps with atmosphere.

Your main female character, Kate, is a Cambridge researcher—a scholar down to business. Can you give us more clues about her personality? Which are her strengths and weaknesses and what made her a good fit for your story?

Kate is obviously very bright and determined. Though far from the sweet, passive heroine of old who screamed a lot and waited to be rescued, she has her own kind of unworldly innocence, isolated as she is in her academic bubble, surrounded by the past, which is, of course, what takes her to Invershiel. Relationship-wise, she’s vulnerable, having been hurt and let down before – and someone like hard-living rocker Dan is way out of her comfort zone. She’s also basically kind and extremely curious by nature, and not afraid to pursue that curiosity.  And she wants to do the right thing.

Dan Stewart, on the other hand, is a brooding recluse—a character often found in Gothic stories—but this one is a rocker with a wild past. What chemistry were you going for between the two main characters?

The chemistry of opposites! Kate is wary of him for so many reasons, and yet she’s very aware of his physical attractions. He also surprises her constantly. She’s drawn to the hint of wickedness about him, and yet is unexpectedly comfortable in his company. They’re very different people with very different pasts, thrown together by chance.

Which actors did you have in mind when writing those two characters or who would you like seeing portray your characters should the book ever became a film?

luke_evans_2014
(Image by Wikimedia Commons)

I had a definite picture in my head of how Dan would look, but I never had an actor in mind. I’ve just been looking through LOADS of pictures of Scottish actors (I do feel he should be a Scottish actor!) and I can’t find one who really fits. Dan is one of those big, loose-limbed men, not really good-looking but definitely sexy. Actors like David Tenant, Gerard Butler, James MacAvoy, and Ian Henry Cusick are really too handsome, though I suppose they could be roughed up a little in make-up J.

ETA: Marie and I agreed that Luke Evans would make a great Dan (his Welshness, aside).

5532313634_a12f023692_b

Kate would be easier – maybe Emma Watson or Jessica Brown Findlay, or someone else both beautiful and strong in appearance.

ETA: I chose Jessica Brown Findlay (Images are labelled for reuse)

The story mostly takes place in Invershiel House. Could you give us a brief description of the story’s setting as seen in the book?

It’s an old, stone house, medieval in origin and added to throughout the ages. Obviously, it’s full of ghosts, real and metaphorical! Here’s Kate’s first glimpse of it:

“I could barely see the house for the horizontal rain blasting across my windscreen. What I could make out was dark and bleak and about as welcoming as a leaky roof, but since I was already late for my initial appointment—thanks to appalling single-track roads and foul driving conditions—I took the next turning and bumped my poor old car up the muddy track towards Invershiel House.

“I thought this might once have been a gracious driveway, for in front of the big, turreted house itself, it widened into a large, tarmac area with two four by fours parked near the imposing front door. I parked my poor little car next to the others, grabbed my bag, and made a dash for the entrance. I bolted up the steps to the wide porch, which was flanked by two stone columns, and rang the bell.

“While I waited, I turned and gazed through the rain at the lowering Highland hills, their summits lost in mist and cloud. Even in this foul weather, the scene held a strange, grand beauty that caught at my breath with sheer awe. I felt very small and insignificant.”

Last but not least, the greater setting—Scotland. What are the Scottish elements that played in the story? Give us some examples of the book’s Scottishness.

Well, there’s the rain :). We get a lot of that, especially in the west. And the Highland scenery is spectacular. Then there’s our history, which is long and often bloody! Kate is there for particular historical documents, but the whole house is steeped in a much broader past.  Related to that, we have many ghost sightings, especially in old houses and castles (though obviously this is played up for tourist purposes!)

But of course, Scotland is much more than pretty scenery and Highland lairds! Dan himself is a Lowlander (as, indeed, are the vast majority of Scots!), the product of a rough Glasgow housing scheme where money is short and unemployment high. Like most countries, Scotland is a place of contrasts, not least the down-to-earth versus the esoteric, aggression versus kindness, and it was great fun to play with that in GHOST IN THE RAIN.

Thanks for talking about Ghost in the Rain, Marie. What are you up to writing-wise these days?

My pleasure, Maria! Thanks so much for inviting me. And by the way, I love your HOUSE AT THE EDGE.

Writing-wise, I’ve been a bit quiet over the last few months, having to concentrate on other things – but I have plans to write more in my historical Gothic series, Darke of Night, and my paranormal suspense series, The Gifted. Looking forward to that!

About the Author

about-marieMarie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much atoo smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie is the award-winning author of over forty sexy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.

You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com.

Subscribe to her New Release Mailing Listhttp://www.marietreanor.com/marie-treanor-newsletter/

Catch more latest news on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.

Follow on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MarieTreanor

And on Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/marietreanor/

___________________

For more on the A World of Gothic series, visit our Facebook page

 

Ghost in the Rain – A World of Gothic: Scotland

572f73ce98ccdthumbnail

Do you enjoy mystery stories set in remote locations, laced with romance that blooms alongside danger from the world beyond? Then keep on reading because the book I present today (alongside an enticing excerpt) not only includes all of the above elements, but it’s the first in a series of many similar stories that will be published monthly, featuring locations from around the world. And I’m also part of the tour! My Greek story will be published on May 26.

First stop on the tour? The Scottish Highlands.

Marie Treanor promises excitement and hair-on-end reading pleasure with Ghost in the Rain, featuring a reclusive rocker and a researcher who visits his remote residence to study valuable letters that are in his possession. Mysterious vanishings and a dead body leave Dr. Kate Yorke wondering: does Invershiel House host a man that will claim her heart or a ghost that will claim her life?

Ghost in the Rain – A World of Gothic: Scotland

by Marie Treanor
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Purchase links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/242zolj

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/26t6c5R
B&N: http://bit.ly/1qT8WZn
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1TvPiwg
i-Books: http://apple.co/1YTP2sg

Genres: Gothic, mystery, paranormal, romance

GhostInRain_CVR_SML

Blurb

A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…

Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.

Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.

It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…

_____________

A World of Gothic is a Gothic Mystery Romance Series of stand-alone novellas by authors from all over the world. For information on other titles, check out A World of GothicFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105411939511452&fref=ts

_____________

Excerpt

I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.

I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.

Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.

I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.

I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.

On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.

Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.

Gone back inside if she’s got any sense whatsoever.

I could tell myself that, and believe it. I just couldn’t quite silence the tiny voice in my head that whispered I might just have seen a ghost…

And then, before I could laugh myself back to sceptical normality, another figure strode into view. Two figures. A man and a large dog. The dog was trotting along at his side, sniffing the grass. Even in darkness, the man was unmistakably Dan Stewart. He seemed to be wearing the same old khaki jacket. I could see the rain running off him in rivulets. It hadn’t seemed to touch the ghostly woman…

He stopped, gazing ahead and slowly turned as if looking for something, or someone. Just for a moment, I was tempted. I even raised my phone hand. But it felt too wrong to take a picture of him without permission in his own home. He was facing the house now and without warning, he tipped back his head and caught me staring down at him.

I felt frozen in that distant gaze. Forcing myself, I gave a feeble wave and dragged my eyes free towards the black, wooded hills and the furiously scudding sky. Still, I was aware of him striding back towards the house. I even heard his voice calling to the dog which loped after him.

Restlessly, I abandoned the window. I needed to go to bed. My eyes, my mind, were all far too tired.

Ellie had been quite blasé about leaving the letters out of their locked cabinet. “Even if anyone knew about them, who’d steal them round here?” she’d said reasonably. I took her at her word and just stuffed my own notebook into my bag before picking it up and heading for the closed door, where I paused, because I could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs.

My heart drumming, I waited for them to pass before I left the room. They strode closer, along the hall, and I held my breath. He’d go past; he must go past…

The door flew open, and Dan Stewart stood there, scowling at me. Raindrops stood out on his wet hair and clothes.

No, he wasn’t pretty. But there was something devastatingly attractive about that rough, bony face and those big, grey eyes that seemed much darker than before.

“Did you take any pictures?” he asked abruptly.

About the Author

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much too smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie is the award winning author of over forty sexy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.

You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com.

Subscribe to her New Release Mailing List: http://www.marietreanor.com/marie-treanor-newsletter/

Catch more latest news on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieTreanor

And on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marietreanor/